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How to Throw a Garden Party

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I'm a mom of two boys living in Denver. The Fox & She is where I share my easy outfit ideas, style tips, beauty hacks and wellness tips for inspired, happier living—everyday.

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Something that’s been on my bucket list for awhile is hosting a backyard dinner garden party. I spend so much time making our garden beautiful and I was dreaming of twinkly lights, candles, delicious fresh food and rosé with friends outside this summer, plus I love outdoor parties—there’s something so easy and effortless about them!

how to throw a garden party

Since my birthday was a few weeks ago and I decided this would be the perfect time to make that dream a reality.

Throwing any type of party is a bit of an undertaking, but with some forward planning, you’ll be able to easily create a beautiful, stress-free event that everyone loves.

If you’re looking to host more often, or have a shower, or dinner party to throw, consider making it a garden party and read on for tips for making it easy and enjoyable for everyone.

What Events Work Well as Garden Parties

Garden party themes work well for events such as birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and even casual gatherings with friends and family. Being outdoors adds a whimsical atmosphere to your garden party theme can enhance any special occasion.

More Garden Party Ideas:

  • Garden Party Birthday
  • Brunch
  • Baby Shower
  • Bridal Shower
  • Cocktail Parties
  • Garden Dinner Party

How to Throw a Garden Party

Send Themed Digital Party Invitations

While I love good ole fashioned snail mail party invitations, they’re more expensive and you have to plan ahead. I’m not known for planning things far enough in advance, so evites work well for me! Digital invites from Evite or Paperless Post are great affordable and reliable options and so beautiful.

I went with a floral design that matched the colors of my tablescape. Depending on your theme, you can find something to match perfectly! There’s everything from traditional florals, modern blooms, tropical leaves, or watercolor illustrations. Once you pick your invite, you can customize the layout, fonts, colors, and wording to create a beautifully bespoke invitation.

Create a Festive Tablescape

garden party birthday

When creating a tablescape for my garden party, I wanted to use a soft, but colorful palette that complemented the garden.

I opted for soft greens, blues and pinks to create a romantic and whimsical atmosphere. I had this fun green floral tablecloth, colored cut glass wine glasses and simple white plates. I added some modern lamps to bring it all together. You really don’t need too many garden party decorations because your garden should be the main focus. Keep it, easy, elegant and so fun!

If you don’t have a big enough outdoor table, you can rent one, or move one from inside to out for the night—we took our rustic wood dining table and moved it outside for the evening!

More simple decor ideas could include floral centerpieces in mason jars or vintage vases, lace table runners, and tea light candles in small glass holders. I there’s bugs where you live, consider citronella candles o tkeep them away.Get creative with it and use what you have!

Consider Printed Menus & Place Cards

Printed menus and place cards are a great way to add an extra special touch to your garden party. You can create customized menus that match your theme and style, and place cards to help guests find their seats and add a personalized touch to each table setting. When I’m a guest, I always appreciate the attention to detail and thoughtfulness of these special little elements.

garden party food

I found some great templates on Canva that were actually invites, but I just swapped out the wording and made them into menus! I love how they turned out! As for place cards, I just wrote everyone’s name on small pieces of paper and tied them to our napkins!

Add Delicate Lighting & Music

soft lighting for a garden party

To create a cozy and inviting atmosphere at your garden party, lighting is key! Consider adding delicate warm lighting such as candles, overhead string lights, and small on-table lamps—these rechargeable ones are amazing.

These little touches create such a cozy and intimate vibe as the sun goes down and they keep it bright enough that you can see what you’re eating and drinking.

Lastly, add some nice music—nothing too loud or overpowering, but just a little something that adds to the vibe of your evening.

Serve a Seasonal Menu

garden party food

I love summer menus because there’s so much in season! Fresh produce is at its peak, so take advantage by serving a simple seasonal menu.

I also decided to serve mostly chilled or room temperature items to make the prep easy—more menu ideas below. But, I wanted everything to be family-style and easy to pass around for our casual evening.

mini bruschetta for garden party

For drinks, keep it simple with a few bottles of wine placed in a metal trough so guests can easily help themselves. Pre-mix a signature cocktail that’s easy to pour and serve. And have plenty of non-alcoholic options and water available as well.

Make Dessert Easy

When hosting a party, don’t feel guilty about buying desserts from a bakery or store. This simple solution can help take one thing off your plate and allow you to be a relaxed hostess that actually gets to enjoy her party!

I opted for my favorite key lime pie from a local spot, but any dessert will do. If you are making your own, make it easy to serve—pre-cut brownies or lemon squares, mini tarts or cupcakes are all great options. You could even buy a simple cake and dress it up with edible flowers.

Outdoor Games

how to throw a garden party

I’m all for having a drink and catching up with friends, but having some lawn games can also be fun! Outdoor games can add an element of fun and entertainment to your backyard party.

Some perfect outdoor games for a garden party include cornhole, giant jenga, bocce ball, croquet, ladder toss (just bought and my oldest son is OBSESSED!), and ring toss. These games can keep guests of all ages engaged and make your party memorable—definitely brings out the kid in you!

Have a Backup Plan

No matter how well you plan your garden party, it’s always important to have a backup plan in case of rain or bad weather.

For fancier events, you can definitely consider setting up a tent or canopy to provide cover for your guests, or have an indoor space ready to move the party if necessary.

garden party

My plan was to move my table indoors if it rained. It did rain a bit, but not too much, so we ate outside, ran inside for a few minutes while it rained and then came back outside after.

It’s also a good idea to have some umbrellas on hand in case guests need to move between different areas. By being prepared for unexpected weather, you can ensure that your garden party will still be a success.

Garden Party Dress Code

what to wear to a garden party

The best part of throwing your own party is that you get to decide the dress code and it can range from casual to dressy. I wouldn’t recommend anything too dressy, it’s in the garden after all!

For warmer days, guests should opt for light and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool in the outdoor setting. And for parties at night, have people bring a layer in case it’s cool when the sun goes down. Flowy dresses, floral prints, and pastel colors are all fun choices.

Floral Dress

Floral dresses are a perfect choice for a garden party as they complement the natural beauty of the surroundings. Colorful dresses and bold patterns were also a popular choice!

White Dresses

White dresses are another great option for a garden party because they evoke a sense of freshness and elegance, perfectly complementing the blooming flowers and greenery of the outdoor setting. You can even turn your garden party into an all white party and request that guests wear all white!


For a garden party, the best options for shoes are definitely flat sandals or wedges, as stiletto type heels may sink into the ground and cause damage or just be awkward on unstable outdoor surfaces like grass, bricked patios or pebbles.

Garden Party Food Ideas

garden party food

This is what I was most excited about when planning my garen party. I focused on dishes that cold be prepped ahead of time so I didn’t have to do much work once guests arrived. I also think it’s smart to stick with light, fresh dishes that are won’t leave everyone feeling heavy and too full.

Here’s what I served:

roasted chicken

More fun ideas to try:

  • Fruit Skewers
  • Finger foods, Trader Joe’s has so many great options
  • Simple, Fresh Salad
  • Potato Salad
  • Panzanella
  • Veggie & Meat Skewers
  • Salmon
  • Mini sandwiches
  • Flatbreads
  • Cupcakes
  • Cookies
  • Pie, really anything sweet!

I hope this shows you that throwing a garden party can be fun, enjoyable and pretty casual. We had so much fun and it made me think I need to make this an annual thing!

BTW, 11 outdoor dining essentials for an elevated experience, and how to throw a simple and elegant dinner party.



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